Metro Canada: Cobie Smulders packs a real punch in Jack Reacher
By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada
Cobie Smulders has been in action movies a plenty, but she’s rarely part of the action. That changes in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Opposite Tom Cruise, Smulders plays Major Susan Turner, a decorated solider accused of espionage. To prove her innocence she teams with Jack Reacher in a battle for the truth.
“I was really excited about doing some action scenes,” says the Canadian born actress who played former director of the planetary intelligence service S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill in various Avengers movies as well on television.
“I’d done some quote, unquote action movies before, through The Avengers and the Marvel Universe. I’d be part of some of their stuff but I missed out on most of the fun fight sequences. Jumping on this, I knew I would get to do more fighting, hands on, rather than standing next to the superheroes while they do all the fighting.”
She has more than her share of up-close-and-personal battle sequences, bare knuckling her way through the story at a breakneck pace, but were the scenes as fun to shoot as she thought they would?
“That’s a great question because sometimes they are not,” she laughs. “They are quite technical and they can drag on. When it is fast and intense, they’re really fun because it’s like an adrenaline rush. It’s like doing a choreographed dance with somebody. But when they drag on and it becomes about the minutia of like, ‘We have to do the insert of the picking up of the meat tenderizer and we have to do it from this angle and that angle,’ it takes the magic out of it.”
A magical experience or not, Smulders, who will next be seen in the action comedy Why We’re Killing Gunther opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, says the scenes helped her performance.
“For me all the training and all the fighting helped me get into the character,” she says. “There were days when I would push past breaking points and think, I can’t take this anymore, and then I would go further. It got easier and easier. It was really painful at first but I always kept that in the back of my mind, what this woman would have had to go through, and what women and men in the military have to go through.
“I think anybody who decides to enlist in the military and do all the work it takes to become a major is somebody who is much stronger than I will ever be.
“She’s a woman we say has graduated Ranger School. When we started shooting the movie that hadn’t happened yet; no women had graduated from Ranger School. Then during the shoot the first two women graduated. If I am playing a woman who can endure that type of training, then this should be like a piece of cake, what I’m doing on set.”
Cruise and Smulders play a sort of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a deadly duo who never allow romance to get in the way of their appetite for bodily destruction. Their relationship is a mix of Roadhouse style fighting and humorous rom com dialogue.
“To not have these characters get together romantically,” Smulders says, “was more interesting to watch than having a love scene in the middle of the movie.”